Wednesday's Tucker County Commission meeting ended with tears of sadness, recollection and longing for past and future as James "Tom" Carr attended his final meeting as a county commissioner.
This past November, Diane Hinkle was elected to fill the position of commissioner - in January she will take over the position as Carr leaves his seat to pursue other endeavors. Only one commission meeting will take place this month, so Carr gave a final speech following the morning proceedings.
"We have great people here," Carr said. "A lot of sleepless nights, but we make it happen."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Casey Houser
From left, Tucker County Commissioners Mike Rosenau, Tom Carr and Lowell Moore listen to Carr give his final speech as commissioner. Diane Hinkle will be taking over his position in January.
Carr was quick to praise others for the accomplishments the commission has realized over the past six years. He spoke about an increased hotel/motel tax that has helped to improve local fire departments and the Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
He addressed Darla Stemple, director of the county Office of Emergency Management, and Dustin Luzier, director of the county regional jail, thanking them for their support in 911 mapping and addressing and the positive strides in community corrections, respectively.
He talked about improvements to the county animal shelter, spearheaded by Cathy Parsons, and the ongoing courthouse restoration and courthouse annex development.
Carr also mentioned the county budget, which he listed as being a model for any county in the state.
"We have had a budget surplus the past six years," he said, noting that county employees have been given a raise every year during his term.
Lastly, with a slight crack in his voice, he welcomed and gave his blessing to Hinkle.
Commissioners Mike Rosenau and Lowell Moore said how proud they were of Carr's accomplishments.
"(Working with Carr) has been a pleasure," said Rosenau. "I am proud of our progress."
"Tom, we wish you well," said Moore.
Also during Wednesday's meeting:
Juliana Dzaack, spokesperson for the Heart of the Highlands Trail System, also addressed the council on Wednesday.
She said there are several things the Highlands group is excited to have seen in 2012.
The Splash Dam South Trail was completed, a 3.2 mile trail connecting Davis to the Camp 70 bridge and to other trails in the area.
A trail cleanup project was completed with Tucker County High School students.
In addition, a student conservation crew was used for two months to complete maintenance on the Allegheny Trail, south of Canaan Loop Road.
She also said Highlands was featured on Traveling West Virginia, a segment of WCHS television in Charleston.
A future endeavor for the Highlands is to create better maps that document area trails.
"One of the things we have as an organization, as a goal, is to make (maps) more available," Dzaack said. "The trails are an incredible resource for this area."
Stemple asked about the addition of GPS coordinates on their maps. Dzaack said it is also a priority to make sure that coordinates are included.
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